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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : opinions : letters July 10, 2014

10/23/2012 1:11:00 PM
Letter: Political bullies In The Verde Valley


Politics is supposed to be a debate of ideas culminating at the ballot box. Yet some people in the Verde Valley seem unwilling to settle for merely exercising their freedom of speech and their right to vote. They resort to dirty tricks and bullying in order to intimidate those who disagree with them.

This year, dozens of Democratic signs have been stolen – many removed from private property. Democrats have had bumper stickers ripped from their cars. Some have received threats. Others have had obscenities shouted at them simply because someone didn’t like their T-shirts or yard signs.

I thought I had seen and heard it all...until a stranger rang our doorbell. Having seen our Obama yard sign he wanted to argue with my wife and refused to leave when asked. When I confronted him, he wanted to fight. I later learned that he harassed others in similar fashion and even stopped at the Democratic campaign office to bully volunteers.

I don’t know if the culprits are Republicans, Tea Partiers, Libertarians or Independents. But I do know they are un-American, representing the very worst of our society. They’re little more than grown-up versions of school yard bullies, and their behavior has no place in politics or any other aspect of a civilized society.

Gary LaMaster


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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Article comment by: After reading about the Gilbert woman...

...who was so pathologically violent and paranoid of Obama being re-elected that she critically injured her husband by running him down with her car for not voting.....I couldn't help but come here and scroll back to this letter, written by someone who'd also experienced that ugly, might-makes-right gop/neocon mindset, albeit in a somewhat more toned-down way. Bet many of you don't see a parallel there, right? On the one hand, someone critically injured another person having the peace of their home disturbed by a person with opposing viewpoints to their lawn signs banging on their door in anger?

But it's the exact same trajectory, the same line that's been crossed in both cases.

Thank God we're making at least some progress, even here in AZ.

Posted: Thursday, November 1, 2012
Article comment by: nutso fasst

Dear Ms. Heartman, I always reconsider my comments when someone claims I'm unequivocally correct. Though in hindsight I still agree with you, the constitutionality of the Johnson amendment is sufficiently debatable that it will never be challenged in court. Nevertheless, the law requires only that 501(c)(3) organizations must not "participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office." That does not describe what the pastors have done, so I seriously doubt the IRS will take action that prompts a lawsuit.

Posted: Monday, October 29, 2012
Article comment by: Mary Heartman

@ You missed the point…
Spoken like a true disciple of Henry the 8th. I'll grant you that Elizabeth I made good use of her daddy's ill-gotten gains. Her successor, James I, most certainly did not, however, and neither did any subsequent English monarch. (Speaking of bullies, by the way, our Verde Valley vandals are mere babes compared to that bloody crew.)

@ Lee Cali
Exactly. And the definition of "civil insurrection" is deliberately disobeying a law or regulation for the purpose of making a social or political statement.

@ Nutso Fasst
You're correct. The Oct. 7 talkathon was actually protesting a vindictive piece of legislation that wasn't aimed at religious institutions per se. But darn it, you spoiled my punch line. I wanted to suggest Ms. Cali may be unable to see the point because she is so certain people with strong religious convictions have no sense of humor. But the only thing humorous about LBJ is Doris Kerns Goodwin's biography.

Posted: Monday, October 29, 2012
Article comment by: nutso fasst

Ms. Cali, do you never question reality as fed to you by the Puppet Masters of the Party of Parrots? Do you honestly not understand that the 1954 Johnson Amendment to the tax code that the Pastors demonstrated against has nothing to do with your non-existent and constitutionally-irrelevant "wall separating church and state?"

The Constitution: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Peaceably assembling to evaluate political candidates in relation to one's religious beliefs is a constitutional right. The Johnson amendment, inasmuch as it applies to religion (which it doesn't, specifically), is unconstitutional.

Please apply your indomitable energies toward removing "in God we trust" from our currency and "under God" from the pledge.

Posted: Monday, October 29, 2012
Article comment by: Brian Carlson

Why does everyone have to turn this into a partisan issue? This should not happen to anyone no matter what political party they belong to.

Posted: Sunday, October 28, 2012
Article comment by: Lee Cali

Um, Ms Heartman, I think it is you who "missed the point." IRS rules that a religious entity cannot endorse candidates and retain its tax-exempt status, not that they can't have the freedom to campaign. They just can't do it on the government dollar. Get it?

Posted: Sunday, October 28, 2012
Article comment by: Josh Violette

Cheryl...M J has no moral compass to guide him. His comments are like those of an agent provocateur who just wants to stir up trouble. It is a mystery to me why anyone who reads these postings would find his abhorrent point of view to be have any value whatsoever. Wait for further attacks from him...they will come.

Posted: Saturday, October 27, 2012
Article comment by: You missed the point . . .

All non profit organizations do not pay taxes,
these entities as such are not allowed to campaign, it is illegal.

By law, they should lose their tax free status.

Time to tax the churches!

Posted: Saturday, October 27, 2012
Article comment by: Sounds Like

some aren't too happy with Husama doing everything he can to screw the people of Arizona

Posted: Saturday, October 27, 2012
Article comment by: Mary Heartman

@ Lee Cali

I think you missed the point of "Pulpit Freedom." If occupiers of a privately owned park can engage in a little non-violent civil insurrection without serious legal consequences, surely some ministers can do the same. Of course, you have as much right to be outraged as those who railed against the OWS demonstrations. But who forced you to listen to preachers rallying their flocks?

Posted: Saturday, October 27, 2012
Article comment by: Ryan Jensen

Hey M J,

First, I have to admit there's quite a bit of Gary's story that doesn't sit right with me. I've had a sign in my yard and stickers on my car since Labor Day and all I've gotten is positive feedback.

But Gary's certainly a more prominent player in local Democratic politics than I so perhaps that accounts for his troubles.

But my point is, as I see you playing your strong suit and stereo-typing people yet again, let me lob one back over the net to you:

Drive around the Verde Valley, seek out homes with yards filled with the junked cars and two-legged sofas you described...knock on the door of said home and ask "Who are you voting for Nov. 6th?"

I'll bet their answers will surprise you.

Posted: Friday, October 26, 2012
Article comment by: Cheryl LaMaster

After reading all of your "responses" to my husbands letter, I find it necessary to respond. MJ and others, the necessary police reports HAVE been filed. And, the person who was harassed was ME. My husband needed to come to the door to help get the trespasser off our property. He evidently thought he was being "funny" by asking me for money to buy gas for his very large motorhome.

We filed the reports at the request of the Sheriff and Police Departments.

As for "citizenship", my husbands family fought in the Revolutionary War, the Civil War and every other war after. So you may not critique our family values and committment to this country.

Now, I know you won't apologize for your disrespect, but that's OK. I know where you get your flip flops from.

Posted: Friday, October 26, 2012
Article comment by: M J

What really happened.

Knock on door.

Front door opens with a creak, and LaMaster peeks his head out, "WHAT DO YOU WHAT!" he screams.

"Ahhhh......ahhhhhhhh......." said the man who knocked on LaMaster's door, "I wanted to talk to you about the old rusted cars on your front lawn."


"Ah ..... no ....... I wanted to talk to you about your broken down sofas in the front yard."


"Ah.....have a nice day sir," he said walking away.

Posted: Thursday, October 25, 2012
Article comment by: WILLIAM FOLD

The last several people attempting to intimidate me suffered strokes from their failed efforts. I never listen to bullies as their definition designates exactly what they are filled with. Those who badger others have no idea of a reality recognized by most responsible folk. It is their overt badge of astonishing ignorance and they own that. Just let those fools go on.

Posted: Thursday, October 25, 2012
Article comment by: No Brian, it's not safe

That's why I never use my real name here, and just smile at when others try to invalidate my posts because I don't. I didn't need this sad story from Mr. LaMaster (my sympathies, by the way) to know I live in a place where the neocon/repub mentality of "might makes right" has dominated.

Thank God those days are numbered.

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